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balancing my perspective

April 26, 2010

[Current Weekly Question: How can you tell the difference between pushing yourself to lose weight out of love of self vs. punishment of self?]

“I must admit that it has been hard so far.” -Ani Difranco

Although I believe being rooted in positivity is important, I don’t want to be unrealistic or hypocritical.  I don’t want to imply that this whole process isn’t hard, scary, and discouraging.  It is.  It’s also exciting, empowering, and interesting.  It’s so intense emotionally that sometimes I still can’t even believe I’m really doing it!  It all feels like a weird dream at times… and then other times it’s incredibly real. There are good days and there are bad days and there are many in between days, and I certainly don’t always take my own advice.

The past few days did actually happen to be pretty good days.

Here’s what a good day, in terms of body stuff, looks like for me right now:  craving a wide variety of healthy food, making it incredibly easy to choose what to eat without having to go through an involved inner debate; feeling strong in my body and full of energy, significantly decreasing my resistance about working out and even allowing for some excitement about the thought of exercise (shocking!).  On Saturday I had very few demands on my time, so I was even able to spend extra ti me at the gym without that nagging I’m-Supposed-To-Be-Doing-Other-Things feeling.  Basically, a good day is a day in which my body feels healthy and I allow myself space to make body-loving decisions.

Here’s what a bad day might look like:  I wake up feeling heavy & lethargic, and I can’t shake those two feelings throughout the day.  Because of this, I flake out on working out (or, at best, struggle through a workout that is “supposed” to be easy for me) which means I feel more shame, such a familiar feeling, and then I don’t make good food choices because I lose touch with my body.  A bad day is a day in which I feel the need to avoid my body, which only perpetuates the shame that caused the avoidance in the first place.

These ups and downs happen on a day-to-day basis, but I think I can actually map out similar patters over the course of my life on a larger time scope.  There is a lot of inertia in both good days and bad days, and if you have enough bad days you can end up getting stuck…

One of my close friends and I were discussing this on Friday night, and when we really realized the fact of it, that people actually get so filled with shame that they actually 100% GIVE UP on their own body, that I HAD given up on MY body… we were just speechless.  To give up on your body, the beautiful, life-holding, sensual, undeniable piece of self… it’s just so sad.  A body is a terrible thing to waste.

So how does someone go from giving up on their body to taking care of their body?  I wish I knew a secret that would work for everyone.  It’s an individual process, and I believe that it starts internally.  It starts with undoing the beliefs that have gotten you stuck in your shame or your powerlessness, or whatever mechanism is holding you hostage in your own body.  I believe these mechanisms come from the internalization of the negative cultural attitudes regarding weight and the body, which is why it is important to begin dealing with these issues before trying to lose weight: otherwise you will be doing it for the negative messages and not for yourself.  Trust me, I did that a lot and it never ended up being good for me.

Although it is an individual process, you don’t have to be isolated while figuring it out, especially because this is such a common issue.  Going to therapy, a support group, a women’s group, an on-line discussion group… there are so many good ways to stay connected to others while getting in touch with yourself.  I know it’s scary to not isolate yourself when first facing this issue because of all of the shame associated with it, but this is precisely why it is important to stop isolating yourself!  Being isolated only perpetuates the shame cycle, but just sharing your experience allows you to begin forgiving yourself.  I have found over and over again throughout this process that the very thing I am resisting is really the thing that I need.

It also helps to have someone you are close to who is really ready to get healthy too.  It is important that this person be someone you have a strong relationship with so that you don’t end up feeling pressured by them or dependent on them, because YOU have to be the one in the driver’s seat!  In my case, Sam, my boyfriend, has had a lot of similar challenges and he is the one who motivated me to begin working out again, mostly just because I saw him pushing himself to do so.

The beginning was definitely the hardest part, and I think the ratio of good to bad days is steadily shifting for the better.  As time goes on and the good days begin to outnumber the bad, the good days do take on a life of their own, just as the bad days had done before.

❤ Diana Banana

image courtesy of http://www.maldencatholic.org/s/22/images/legacyCMS/ftp/Scales%20of%20Justice.gif

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For more on balancing your perspective, check out my lessons learned lesson #5

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah permalink
    April 26, 2010 3:20 pm

    experience tells me that if you find an exercise you actually enjoy doing, convincing yourself to workout becomes 10000x easier. I thought i liked circuit training until i discovered the dailey method. Turns out circuit training isnt nearly as fun!

    • April 26, 2010 8:53 pm

      ahh, awesome! the only i’ve found that i LOVE is swimming, and it comes with the extra logistical stuff that i don’t like, so it’s not the perfect solution….

      sasha was telling me more about the dailey method and it does sound soo good! when i get some $$…..

  2. April 26, 2010 9:33 pm

    All I want to say is that I loved this post and it resonated so strongly for me.

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